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June 27, 2016

Blanton B-Scene: Viva Espana (Goya exhibit opening)

Blanton B-Scene Viva Espana party for the Goya exhibit was well worth the price of admission (free with membership)

paella from Barlata at Blanton B-scene VIP area

Barlata was serving up paella in the member's VIP lounge and wine was provided by Barcelona Cellars and Baron Creek Vineyards 

blanton b scene barlata paella

Blanton B-scene Viva Espana tapas by Spoon & Co. 

The main party area had a tapas bar provided by Spoon & Co along with chocolates by Delysia Chocolatier

blanton b-scebe viva espana the brew 

We enjoyed the flamenco music and dancing. The food was all delicious and The Brew played a lively set to close the evening.  


Nightcap and Counter Three 5, 7

Nightcap: a beautiful bungalow on W, 6th turned into a place for cocktails, desserts and dinner.

Nightcap $26 chicken

We didn't have a great experience at Nightcap. The service was awkward and the prices seemed to be a bit high. The chicken breast (above) was $26. It was good, but the portion seemed small, almost appetizer sized. The Charcuterie and cheese board (below) had a delicious house made chicken liver pate'. The two cheeses on the board were not exceptionally interesting.

I had seen another party enjoying a certain cocktail. I asked our server about it and was told I can't have one, it was for a private party... really? I can only order the drinks featured on the menu? Our server seemed angry and upset. We left and finished our dinner someplace else (picture roll at Chinatown).  

Nightcap Charcuterie and cheese board 

Counter 3.Five.VII 

Counter 3.Five,VII 

Counter, named as such due to the fact that all seating is at the counter along the open kitchen. The servers are the chefs that prepared that particular course. Diners choose their meal ahead of time, either the three, five, or seven course meals.

It wasn't easy to get this reservation to work for us as we were a party of four, wanting a mixture of 3 and 5 course options. They typically ask that everybody in the party have the same selection. An exception was made for us.

That said, I think I prefer the five course offering over the three. But the menu changes regularly. Ideally, I'd like to sit there all night, enjoying fifteen courses (everything from the menu, 3+5+7).

Countr 3 five VII 

This was easily one of the best meals out we've had in Austin.   

counter 3,five,VII 

June 20, 2016

Early bird of Vermont gets me via interweb.

I've mentioned how the Summer sun rises earlier in Vermont, than in Texas. I'm the sort of person that wakes up with the sun. It can be a problem.

hardwick summer sun 

Note that on the same day, the sunrise In Hardwick Vermont is more than an hour earlier than Austin Texas (below).

summer sun austin texas 

Our home in Vermont has a variety of tech that enables us to monitor it while we're away. I get the occasional notification when the neighbors walk by (there's only one other home on our street) or when the wind makes the trees sway. I often find myself mesmerized looking at the view of there, from here. The green trees at my front door from two thousand miles away, accessed on my iPhone at any time. Often notifying me to look.

But I also get notifications when the sun is shining right at the front door... EARLY in the morning.

summer sunrise in Hardwick Vermont 

Imagine the scene, I'm asleep in my bed in Austin Texas. I get an alert from my phone indicating "there is motion at your front door". I stumble out of bed, get my phone to see THIS! It's that early rising sun from Vermont, waking me up early in Texas. The sun and technology have conspired to get me up early.  

Work, then Play- Father's Day wknd edition


west lake hills modern 78746 austin


On Saturday, Kat and I worked like hard laborers. We hauled in two thousand pounds of river rock. Distributed it around the various agave. It was HOT out (Summer is really here now). It's great to have a utility trailer to enable bulk purchases of landscaping material ($40 per ton of river rock).

west lake hills modern landscaping austin 78746

siamese snowshoe feral kreamer

Kreamer the semi-feral cat that chose us, follows me around, LOUDLY.  

feral siamese snowshoe cat kreamer


Sunday (Father's Day), we relaxed like professional level relaxers.  

Soundspace at the Blanton:  

blanton soundspace 2016 percussionists ;

blanton museum of art soundspace mediums 

blanton museum book from the sky 


They didn't have our favorite IPA at NXNW. Our server was not the best. But we enjoyed ourselves none the less. The boys certainly enjoyed the new play-scape. Ended the day with pizza and a movie at home, with my family

In other news: Jorge (our favorite sushi chef) has moved to a new location. We went to check it out. He's no longer down the street from us and I'm not happy about that. The daughter got a little adventurous and tried some of his sushi creations. She liked it!

street sushi austin texas picture roll 


June 13, 2016

Hardwick House

Let's jump back to 2008. I had just installed the 1080p projector in the media room, I was hungry for HD content. I set the DVR to record a HD news program hosted by Dan Rather. I usually wake up earlier than the other people in the house, so I often spent the weekend mornings watching my HD news. It was at that time I saw a story about the 21st Century Food System of Hardwick, VT. Other than Newhart (TV sitcom) I really had no other impressions of VT. While I watched the many shades of green in 100 inches of HD content, I was amazed with the beauty, and enchanted by these people and what they sought to achieve. By the time Kat was up for breakfast, I'd already searched home listings for the area.

Now let's skip to 2013. We had just returned from a BIG summer trip to Hollywood, Hawaii, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Kat was happy with all that we accomplished and suggested we do a BIG trip each summer. We compiled a list of exotic locations, Greece, Italy, Germany, and France. I've been to Paris, I'll admit it was not my favorite. I had so many encounters with rude people and the prices of things I'm accustomed to ... (an afternoon beer at a sidewalk café) were so expensive, they were no longer relaxing. That is how I came up with a compromise, Quebec! We can get some French culture while staying in North America. The currency exchange was friendly, just like Canadian people.

This takes us to summer trip 2014. I was checking on the cost of a flight to Quebec. I got creative and checked the map to see if it would be cheaper to fly to a US destination and drive over the border into Quebec. Imagine my surprise when I saw Vermont as a good option. We decided we need to see if all those shades of green were as pretty in real life, as in 1080p. We flew to Vermont to get to Quebec.

Winter 2015 almost sent us chasing a really good oyster we'd had at Perla's, the Conway Royale. I was exploring activities in and around PEI (Prince Edward Island). I mentioned a lobster trap and eat excursion and Kat declined... said she couldn't do that. I started to mention all the crawfish we'd boiled and eaten, or other fish she'd caught and consumed... but I know that once she's made her mind, it's best left alone. We abandoned the idea of PEI for summer trip. We all agreed that there was more VT and Quebec to be enjoyed, it was OK to return.

Summer 2015 we went BACK to VT and Quebec. This time I rented a house in VT to use as a home base for a few days. It worked well, but Kat just wasn't comfortable. And THAT is when we started talking about just buying our own place in VT.

Winter (Jan) 2016 we got serious. I made a chart of features and amenities we'd like from a VT home. I was surprised to find Hardwick VT met some of those qualities we sought. We had never been. It was then that I realized Hardwick was the same town/village that I'd seen in HD years back... I went up, looked at property and found our home.  

The home we bought, was dead last on the list of candidates. Kat had urged me to check it out. It showed better in person. I called it "the doll house" due to the all the floral patterns and pastel colors.   

You want to see? It's YELLOW... 

big yellow dollhouse hardwick vt

hardwick house vermont 

and pink...


I have a chair habit. I search craigslist, estate sales, and auctions. I needed to thin the collection. We figured I had enough chairs for a second home. Mom and I drove 31 hours, only stopping for fuel, to haul the chairs to Hardwick, and a few new light fixtures. 

hardwick house vt 





hardwick vermont house  


deathstar of hardwick vermont 



hardwick back yard  


The boys share a room here in Austin. The fourth bedroom here serves us as a home theater and guest room. The Hardwick home is large enough that they each get their own room. #2 son was so excited about having his own room. When he arrived at night, he only wanted to see his room. Mom and I had assembled his bed so it was ready for him. He smiled so big, then said "GOOD NIGHT!" and shut the door.  


June 06, 2016

Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, Warren Falls and Hardwick First Fridays

Hardwick VT Lamoille River

We spent the first week of Summer vacation 2016 in Hardwick Vermont. We took our bikes with the idea of exploring the LVRT. The section that runs through Hardwick is not yet finished (or started). We did find the old rail line that follows the Lamoille River through the village. The boys even had a quick swim in the river there in Hardwick.  

LVRT Morrisville Vt

We used the Amazon Prime to get a bike rack, applied it to our rental and managed to get all six of our bikes to Morrisville. There we accessed a developed section of trail, and it was GLORIOUS! 

LVRT Morrisville Vermont  

This group did NINE miles on the trail. The #2 son did all that with those small tires, one gear and wearing cowboy boots. He was made in Texas.  

LVRT Morrisville Oxbow park Vermont  

We also made a quick trip to Warren Falls

warren falls vermont   


That's my Mom standing up at the top. There are three falls and three pools deep enough to jump off rocks into.  

photographing the photographer 

warren falls vermont 

rock jumping at warren falls vt 

#1 son jumped, and I did too.  

paul schuster of vermont jumps at warren falls 

small jump warren falls vt 

#2 son is prepping for the day he goes off the big rock.  

vermont waterfall 

Elmore Mountain Fire Tower Hike: 

elmore mountain hike vermont state park 

A moment of introspection at the edge of the Elmore Mountain.  

elmore state park fire tower hike  

When a Vermont State Park Ranger says "It gets a little steep toward the end", You may be surprised at just how STEEP it becomes.   

lake elmore from the fire tower vermont 


The Elmore Store is one of those tiny specs at the far end of the lake on the left side.  

green mountains vermont 

The view from the fire tower was amazing. It was so high, even Kat refused to climb it. I managed most of the way up, clinging tightly and battling vertigo.  

elmore store deck vt 

We rewarded our effort with a quick refreshment on the deck at the Elmore Store. The group there enjoying afternoon beers on the deck invited us to join them at the church Sunday morning. This church group meets for beverages on the deck each Wednesday... That sounds nice to me... Mom, you should join that church! It's only 8 miles from the place in Hardwick.

the deck at the elmore store vermont  

lost nation brewery vermont mosaic and gose 

Kat's favorite beer, Lost Nation Mosaic! Mom found a beer she likes, Lost Nation Gose (low carbonation, salty, and a bit sour). Lost Nation is ON the LVRT trail in Morrisville! You know we stopped after that bike ride. Earned beers taste better. The kids quickly developed an affection for the Rookie Rootbeer. 

rock of ages granite quarry vermont 

We toured the Rock of Ages Quarry near Barre, VT. 

Hill Farmstead Greensboro VT 

Just 11 miles from the Hardwick house, Hill Farmstead.  

Hill Farmstead Sumner beer Greensboro VT 

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Hardwick First Friday pop-up bar 

First Friday of each Summer month, Hardwick has a small street festival. Caledonia Spirits hosted a Pop-Up bar while Buffalo Mountain Co-Op had free Vermont wines and cheeses. We did join the co-op.  

First Friday Hardwick Vermont wine tasting from Buffalo Mountain Co-Op